Mining Association of Canada | 2023 Report

48 LITHIUM Lithium is a reactive metal that is found in combination with other elements in igneous rocks and the waters of mineral springs. It is used to make rechargeable batteries; in alloys with aluminum and magnesium to create strong, lightweight products; and to make glass products. Lithium-ion batteries are the primary driver of demand for lithium. They are used wherever energy-dense batteries are required: in laptops, cell phones, electric vehicles and grid storage. Canadian Production (2021) 0 kg Canada’s Rank as Producer Canada not on the list Value of Canadian Production $0 Where is it? Canada had limited production of lithium from 2014 to 2019 and none in 2020. Several companies are currently working to develop lithium projects from traditional hard rock mining to unconventional sources such as oilfield brines and industrial wastewaters, in Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. Two mines in Quebec reached commercial production in the late 2010s; unfortunately, prices of lithium products and spodumene concentrate fell in 2019, making them temporarily uneconomical. Canada has an estimated 2.9 million tonnes of lithium resources, a number which could be increased by extracting lithium brines from oil and gas fields in Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Greatest Opportunity These six minerals are lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper, and rare earth elements (sourced from the Government of Canada’s Critical Minerals Strategy). While these minerals represent the greatest opportunity to fuel domestic manufacturing and will be the initial focus of federal investments, many other minerals present notable prospects for the future.